Party Platforms and Nominating Conventions

Prior to the 1830s, presidents were nominated primarily by party caucuses organized in Congress.  According to Greely and Cleveland (1860) the first national convention was held by the Anti-Masonic part in September 1830 in Philadelphia.  They met again in September 1831 in Baltimore and nominated William Wirt for President.  The Republicans met in December 1831, and the first national convention for the Democrats was in 1832, in Baltimore.  This was followed by the Whigs (combining with the Anti-Masonic Party) in 1836.  A sourcebook published in 1860 reports that the first platforms adopted by national conventions dated from 1840 for the Democrats and 1844 for other parties (Greeley and Cleveland eds., A Political Text-Book for 1860).

 

The American Presidency Project includes the text of platforms of parties that received electoral votes starting with 1840.  The listing that follows provides a quick link to our pages providing information and statistics about platforms, conventions, and the nominating process.